Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday ripped Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez for her opposition to a law targeting “sanctuary cities” — a law that a federal appeals court last week largely upheld.
Patrick pointed out on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that Valdez is running for governor.
“I believe it’s only one sheriff [who opposes the law], one sheriff who happens to be running for governor, doesn’t want to follow the 5th [U.S.] Circuit Court [of Appeals], doesn’t want to follow the law,” he said. “In my view, that should disqualify her with the voters for running for governor.”
The law, passed law year, requires police chiefs and sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials. It also allows police to question the immigration status of anyone under arrest.
A federal judge in San Antonio had blocked the law, but the appeals court ruled it can be enforced while legal challenges continue.
Texas lawmakers reacted, in part, to Valdez’s public defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration in 2015.
Valdez is not an outlier, Patrick said.
“Most of the Democrats on statewide ticket this November want us to stop ‘sanctuary city’ bans,” he said. “They want us to be like California.”
Patrick laid out crime statistics that he said demonstrate the stakes. In the past six years, he said, law enforcement officials have arrested more than 230,000 people who entered the United States illegally or violated their legal immigration status.
Those immigrants were accused of committing more than 600,000 crimes — including some 1,200 homicides, 74,000 drug offenses, 741 kidnappings, 6,600 sexual assaults, 9,200 weapons offenses, and 42,000 thefts.
“They’re putting their own voters, their own constituents, in grave danger.”
“That’s people who were here illegally or overstaying their legal status,” he said. “That’s just in the last six years, and just in the state of Texas.”
Resistance by local officials like Valdez make Texas citizens less safe, Patrick said.
“They’re putting their own voters, their own constituents, in grave danger,” he said.
Patrick said refusing to follow the law — or actively thwarting it as in the case of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s public warning last month in advance of an impending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid — undermines the rule of law.
“This leads to total anarchy,” he said. “It’s bad enough when the average citizen just says, ‘I’m going to ignore the law’ … But when you have elected officials who know what the law is, know what the courts have said, and they’re gonna defy that, then that’s the breakdown of law and order in society.”
Patrick said it is a myth the Republicans hurt themselves electorally with Hispanic voters when they enforce immigration laws. He said he and Abbott got nearly 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas when they ran four years ago.
“This is not an issue that Hispanics resist,” he said. “They want law and order on the border as well. They don’t want criminals coming into the country.”
The alternative, Patrick said, is Mexican-like violence spilling over the border.
“We’re seeing the kind of terrible crime that is south of the border here north of the border, by criminal gangs on an unfortunately too-frequent basis — gunning down people in broad daylight,” he said.